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Proceedings of the International Conference on

Water, Environment,
,Energy and Society',
January 12-16, 2009, New Delhi, India
Vijay P. Singh
Vijay Kumar
Rakesh Kumar
R.D. Singh
K.D. Sharma

I Water Resources Planning and Management'
I_____ ~--------------------------~
Organized by
National Institute of Hydrology, Roorkee
Ministry of Water Resources, Government of India
New Oelhi-110 001


New Delhi '. Mumbai Kolkata Lucknow Chennai
Nagpur BangaJore Hyderabad Ahmedabad '
International Conference "Water, Environment, Energy and Society" (WEES-2009)
New Delhi, 12-16January 2009

Community Watersheds for Sustainable Development and

Improved Livelihoods in Dryland Areas of Asia

Suhas P. Wani and T.K. Sreedevi

International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT)
Patancheru, Andhra Pradesh, INDIA

Thawilkal Wangkahart
Office of Agricultural Research and Development

Yin Dixin
Guizhou Academy .of Agricultural Sciences (GAAS)
Guizhou, CHINA

ABSTRACT: Rainfed areas constitute globally 80% of cultivated area and will continue to contribute significantly for global
food security. The crop yields in the farmers' fields in rain-fed areas of developing countries are lower by two to five folds than
the achievable yields. Rainwater use efficiency is generally very low. In order to achieve food security and reduce poverty,
rainfed agriculture needs to be upgraded by adopting community watershed approach for sustainable development.
Watersheds are not merely hydrological units but. are dynamic systems comprising human beings and animals; and link
upstream and downstream areas and are prone to a number of externalities. India has adopted watershed approach over time
for development of rainfed areas and substantial investments to the tune of US$ 6 billion have been made till 2006. However,
the performance of the watershed program is not to the desired level as 66% of the programs are performing below average.
Recent comprehensive assessment of watershed programs in India [evealed that community watersheds not only for soil and
water conservation measure but also need to be holistic and inclusive addressing equity and gender concems, productivity
enhancement, employment generation, income enhancement and also building resilience of the community and the natural re
sources to meet the challenges of the future including climate change. This paper describes the importance of rainfed
agriculture and shortcomings in the current watershed programme and new paradigm of community watershed development
along with insights by learcings from large number of watershed programs in Asia.

INTRODUCTION social and equity concerns for improving the livelihoods

Rainfed areas in the developing world are the hot spots of large number of people to meet the Millennium
of poverty, malnutrition, water scarcity, severe land Development Goal (MDG) of reducing the number of
degradation. Farmer's crop yields in the rainfed areas pOOl' to half by 2015 (Wani et aZ., 2004). Globally rain-
are lower by two to five folds than the achievable yields fed agriculture is very important and will continue to
(Rockstrom et aI., 2007, Wani et aZ., 2006). Most of 852 play an important' role to achieve food security
million hungry and malnourished people in the world . (Rockstorm et aZ., 2007) as 80 per cent of the world's
are in Asia, particularly in India (221 million) and in agricultural land area is rain-fed and generates 58% of
China (142 million). In Asia, 75% of the poor are in rural the world's staple foods (SIWI, 2001). Most food for
areas those depend on agriculture for their livelihood. poor communities in developing countries is produced
About half of the hungry live in smallholder farming in rain-fed areas for e.g. in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA)
households, while two-tenths are land-less (Sanchez et where more than 95% of ihe farmed land is rain-fed,
. aI., 2005). Within developing Semi Arid Tropics (SAT) while the corresponding figure for Latin America is
poverty is concentrated more in rain-fed areas (Ryan nearly 90%, for South Asia about 60%, for East Asia
and Spencer, 2001). Rain-fed agriculture becomes 65% and for Near East mld North Africa 75%. In India,
important not only because of large areas but also from 60 per cent of 142 million ha arable land is rain-fed.
1842 Water, Environment, Energy<end Society (WEES-2009)

INSIGHTS IN RAIN-FED AREAS farmers' crop yields oscillate in the range of 0.5-2 t
fI:n insight into the rain-fed regions show a grim ha-' , with an average l
of 1 t ha- in sub-Saharan Africa,
pIcture of water-scarcity, fragile environments, drought and 1-1.5 t ha- in tbe SAT Asia and Central and West
and land degradation due to soil erosion by wind and Asia and North Africa (CWANA) for rain-fed
water, ~ow rainwater use efficiency (35-45%), high agriculture (Rockstrom and Falkenmark, 2000; Wani
population pressure, poverty, low irivestments in water el al., 2003a, b, Rockstrom ef ai., 2007). Rosegrant el
<use efficiency measures, poor infrastructure and ai., 2002 observed that rain-fed grain yields-1 in
inappropriate policies (Wani et al., 2003, Rockstrom et developing countries 1 averaged around 1.5 t ha- as
at., 2007). Drought and land degradation are compared to 3.5 t h.- for irrig~ted yields and increase
interli.nked with a cause and effect relationship and iIi. production fi'om rain-fed agriculture has mainly
both 111 tum are the causes of poverty. This unholy ongmated fi'om land expansion. Similarly, Sreedevi et
nexus between drought, poverty, and land degradation al., 2006 noted that though rainwater harvesting
has to be broken if we have to meet tlle MDG of pl'ospenty was much evident in Rajasamadhiyala
halving the number of food insecure poor by 2015. watershed in India which was largely due to increased
Land degradation through accelerated erosion due to cropping intensity with increased water availability but
agriculture is in-eversible. The torrential character of the crop yields were increased marginally by 20% over
the seasonal rainfall creates high risk for the cultivated the district crop average yield. Evidence from long-
lands. For example, On 23'" June, 2007, Kumool in term experiments at ICRlSAT, Patancheru, India, since
Andhra Pradesh, India received 420 mm rainfall in a 1976, demonstrated the virtuous cycle of persistent
day against 77 mm monthly average. 111US, erosion yield increase through improved land, water, and
leaves behind an impoverished soil on Ono hand, and nutrient management in rain-fed agriculture. Improved
siltation of re,se!},oirs _and tanks on the other. In systems of sorghum/pigeonpea intercrops produced
addition imbalanced use ofnutr{erltsi~ agnculfure--by-highermeall<-grain<-yields
l (-5;H--ha -per<yT) compared
the farmers results in mining of soil nutrients. For to 1.1 t ha- per yr, average yield of sole sorghum in
example in India large number of farmers participatory tlle traditional (farmers') post-rainy system where
watershed management tJials ill more than 300 villages crops arel grown 011 stored soil moisture (Figure 1) with
demonstrated that in SAT current subsistence agricultural 5 t ha- furm yard manure once in two years. The
systems have depleted sCmSndr only macro"tiutriehts annual gainI
in grain yield in the improved lsystem was
but also micro-nutrients namely, zinc and boron and ,82 kg ha- per year compared to 23 kg hu- per year in
secondary nutrients such as sulphur, beyond the critical the traditional system. The large yield gap between
limits. Widespread (80 to 100%) deficiencies of micro . attainable yield and farmers' practiceI as well as
and secondary nutrients were observed in funnel'S' b~tweel1 tlle attainable
l yield of 5.1 t ha- and potential
fields in different states ofIndia Cfab1e 1) (Rego et aI:, Y1eld of 7 t ha- showed that a lar<>e pot"lltial of rain--
2007 and Sahrawat et al., 2007). fed agriculh1re remained to be ta;ped. Moreover, tlle
improved management system is still gaining in
productivity as well as improved soil quality (physical,
POTENTIAL OF RAIN-FED AGRICULTURE chemical, and biological parameters) along with i

In tropical regions, particularly in the sub-humid and increased c~rbon sequestration of 330 kg C ha- I pel'
.humid zones, agricultUral yields in commercial rainfed year (Wanl et ai., 2003a). Yield gap analyses,
agriculture exceed 5-6 t ha- (Rockstrom and underta~en ~y the Comprehensive Assessment (CA),
Falkemnark, 2000; Wani et al., 2003b, c). However, for rna] or ramfed crops in semi-arid regions in Asia

Table l' Farmers' Palds Deficient in So'lI Nu!re
I nts'In D'ff
I erent States of India

: No. of Farmers' ; Organic Available Available Available Available Available

State i
Fields Carbon P K S B Zn
i Andhra Pradesh :
1927 84 39 12 87 88 :
lJsarnataka 1260 58 49 18 85 76 72
i Madhya Pradesh 73 9 86 1 96 65 93
! Rajasthan 179 22 9 64 43 24
; Gujara! ! 82 12 60 10 ! 46 100 82
I Tamil Nadu 119 57 51 ,
24 71 89 61
I Kerala 28 11 21 7 96 100 18
Community Watersheds for Sustainable Development and Improved Livelihoods in Dryland Areas of Asia 1843

and Africa, and rainfed wheat in West Asia and North Watershed is a spatial unit, the water flowing through
Africa (WANA), revealed large yield gaps, with the watershed interconnect up-stream and down stream
farmers', yields being a factor 2-4 lower than areas and provide life support to rural peop Ie making
achievable yields for 'major rainfed crops grown in people and animals an integral part of watersheds.
Asia and Africa (Rockstrom et ai., 2007). Activities of people/animals affect tlIe health and
sustainability of watersheds and vice versa, TI1is creates
interdependence between resources as well as resource
users over time and space, By definition, watersheds
require a hydrologically defined spatial 'scale for
technological interventions to succeed, The actnal size
of this unit depends on topographic and agro-climatic
conditions and may range from a few hectares (ha) to
over thousands of ha depending, on the objectives of
the interventions. This implies that effectiveness of
watershed interventions will depend on the ability to
1976 1919 1982 1985 1988 1991 1994 1997 2000 2000 2007
treat the entire hydrological landscape, not just a

Fig. 1: Three-year moving average of crop yields in portion of it. In most parts of the world watersheds are
improved and, traditional management systems during described as large hydl'Ological unit at basin level.
1976-2007 at ICRISAT, Patancheru, India However; in India based on the important role. of the
community in watershed development and to' avoid
Watersheds as Growth Engine for Development conflicts amongst the villages covered by a large
of Rain-fed Areas watershed, micro-watersheds of 500 to 1000 ha are
Integrated Watershed Management (IWM) has been used as unit to be developed by adopting community
promoted as a suitable strategy for improv ing producti. pruiicipatory approach. Till 2006 tip to 10th five year
vity and sustainableintensificatioll of agriculture in plan, about US $ 6 billions have been invested by
rain-fed drought-prone regions, India has one of the Government of India and other donor agencies for
largest micro-watershed development programs in the treating 38 million ha' in the countlY (Table 2).
world. TIle watershed development program is continu- Appreciating this fact, the new generation of water-
ously evolving in the COl11l!Jy through new guidelines, shed development pl'Ogrammes is implemented with a
policies, institutions, and expanding the scope of the 'larger aim to adoress issues of food security, equity,
watershed programs (Wani et aI., 2008, 2008a and poverty, severe land degradation and water scarcity in
Government of India 2008). Current watershed dry land areas. Hence, in the new approach, Watershed, a
programs are addressing the issues of not only soil and land unit to manage water resources has been adopted
water conservation but also focusing towards holistic as a planning unit to manage natural resources of an
and very much inclusive encompassing equity, gender, area. Realizing the fact that in the absence of them,
productivity enhancement, employment generation, sustainable NRM would be illusive. These highlights
income enhancement, and most importantly to build need to improve livelihoods of local communities. Due
the resilience of the eommwlity and the natural to these considerations watershed programmes have
r resources to meet the challenges of future including been looking beyond soil and water conservation rnto a
climate change (Wani et ai" 2008a). The hydrological range of activities from productivity enhancement
approach helps identifY the appropriate technical through interventions in agriculture, horticulture, animal
interventions on the supply side while the village or 'husbandry to cqmmunity organization and gender
community-based planning and implementation is equity. This holistic approach requires optimal contri-
fundamental for creating institutions for community bution from different discipline to create a demand for
empowerment and sustainability on the demand side multi-stakeholder situation in watershed development
(Shiferaw et ai., 2008). Comml11lity-based IWM inter- programmes.
ventions create synergies between targeted techno- Although, watershed development approach is
logies, policies and institutions that improve productivity, embraced as a policy for development of drought
resource use sustainability and market access for the prone regions in the counuy, however, number of
resource users (Wani etai., 2003c). evaluations showed that all were not gone well with
1844 Water, Environment, Energy and Society IWEES-2009}

Table 2: Degraded Land under Various Watershed Development Programmes

I (Area in lakhs ha and Expenditure In Rs. Crores}
! ,
Progress up to 1d Five Year Plan Projection for 1dh Five Year Plan
S. No.1 MlnistrylScileme (up to March 2006}
Year of Start

Area Treated I

A Ministry of Agriculture (Department of Agriculture and Coooeration)

rea Target
r Financial

1. NWDPRA 1990-91 I 85.59 , 2671.56 40.0 <\(\(\n n

2. RVP &FPR 1962 & 81 62.57 ! 1908.43 20.0 2400.0

3. WDPSCA 1974-75 ! 3,52
... ~
255.58 2.0 240.0
4. RAS, 1985-86 I, 6.87 105.94 5.0 , 287.0
5. WDF 1999-2000 0.39 2101.5 4.0 ! 300.0
I 6. lEAPs 28.0 4980.0 5.0 750.0
New schemes for 24.0 2950.0
problem soils
Sub-Total I 186.94 12023.01 100.(l 9927.0 ,
Inlstry or Rura10eveopmen tiD epartmen t \0 f Ian d Resources) ._M
8. I DPAP I 1973-74 65.74 5060.5 40.0 , 3000.0 ,

9. loop I 1977-78 35.31 1960.75 I 30.0 2250,0

10. IIWDP 1988:"89 84.54 2228.41 70.0 525.0.0
11. EAPs' --,., ........ .... 3.6' , 212.67 .
SubTotal 189.19 I 9462.33 140.0 10500.0 ,

. C. Ministry of environment dnd Forestry

12. NAEP '1989-90 ! 8.77 I 852.89 ,

D. PlanningCommission .. " .~

13. HADP From Vplan 4908.26

! 14. WGDP From V plan 1426.65 ! 10.0 750.0
SubTotal 6334.91 10.0 750.0 ,
30.0 2250.0
E. Public-Private Partnership (PPP) i ..!
I Total 384.9
280.0 I 23427.0
(= US$ 644.34) (= US$ 526.45)
Note: Currency conversion @ 44,50 fNR ;; 1 US$: one crore =ten million.
Abbreviations: NWDPRA - National Watelshed Development proJect fur Rainfad Areas; RVP& FPR - River Valley Project & Flood Pmne River;
WDPSCA - Watershed Development Project for Shifting CUltivation Areas; RAS - Reclamation of Alkali Soli; WDF - Watershed Development
Fund; EAP - External Aided projects; DPAP - Drought Prone Area Programme; DDP - Desert. Development Programme; PNDP: Integrated
Wasteland Development Project, NAEP - National Afforestation and EcoDevelopmenl project; .HADP - Hill Area Development Programme;
WGDP Western Ghats Development Programme.

the watershed programmes (Kerr et al., 2002, revealed that watershed programmes were economically
Farrington. and Lobo, 1997, Joshi et ai., 2005, Wani et viable and productive with a benefit~ost ratio of 2.14
al., 2002, 2003). Evaluation of first generation on-frum and the internal rate of return of 22%. The watersheds
watershed development research ICRISAT terun also benefited farmers through enhanced irrigated
reported that itt spite of clear demonstration of areas by 33.5%, increased cropping intensity by 63%,
economic benefits, fanners reverted back to their reducing soil loss to 0.8 t ha- I and runoff to 13%, and
earlier soil and water management options and only improved groundwater availability (Joshi et aI., 2005),
few components of the' improved soil, water and However, about 65% of the case studies showed below
nutrient management options were adopted and average performance. (Figure 1). Recently, ICRISAT
continued. Subsequent meta-analysis of 311 watershed~ led consortium undertook comprehensive assessment
case studies from different agro-eco 'regions in India of watershed programs in India. The meta analysis of
Community Watersheds for Susiainable Development and Improved Livelihoods in Dry/and Areas of Asia 1845

636 watershed case studies revalidated the results of converging all the necessary aspects of natural
earlier mete analysis study (Wani et al., 2008). The resource conservation, their efficient use, production
comprehensive assessment of watershed programs has functions ruld income enhancement avenues through
described watershed development approach as growth value chain and enabling policies and much needed
engine of sustail1able development in dryland areas investments in rainted areas.
and have recommended changes in watershed
guidelines, policies and approach. The CA has Holistic Watershed Approach through Integrated
recommended watersheds to be developed as business Genetic and Natural Resource Management
model through public private partnership mode and (IGNRM)
convergence of actors and programs with full Traditionally, crop improvement and NRM were seen
community participation for addresshig the issues of
as distinct but complementary disciplines. ICRlSAT
enhancing crop productivity, income generation
has deliberately blurred these boundaries to create the
through targeted activities for small and marginal
new paradigm of IGNRM (Twomlow et ai., 2006) to
farmers, women, and vulnerable groups of the society,
solve farming problem. Improved varieties and
conserving natural resources and most importantly improved resource management are two sides of the
building the resilience of namral resources and the
same coin. The systems approach looks at various
community to cope with the future changes including
components of the rural economy-traditional food
climate change (Wani et al., 2008a).
grains, new potential cash crops, livestock and fodder
production, as well as socioeconomic factors such as
New Paradigm in Community Watershed alternative sources of employment and incorhe.
Management in Rain-fed Areas Crucially the lGNRM approach is participatory, with
Evidences collected during the CA of water for food farmers closely involved in technology development,
and water for life revealed that business as usual in testing and dissemination.
global agriculture would not be able to meet the goal ICRlSA1'5 studies in Africa and Asia have identified
of food security and reducing the poverty. If situation several key constraints to more widespread technology
continued it will lead to .crises in many parts of the adoption (Ryan and Spencer, 200 [). Other institutes
world (Molden, 2007). Ho,ever, the world's available have independently reached similar conclusions for other
land and water resources can satisfy future demands by agroecosystems. So there is gen_eral agreement on the
taking the following steps: key challenges before us. These are:
upgrading rain-fed agriculture by investing more in Lack of a market-oriented smallholder production
rain-fed agriculture to enhance agricultural producti- system where research is market-led, demand-
vity (rain-fed scenario). driven and follows the commodity chain approach
Discard the artificial divide betWeen rain-fed and to address limiting constraints along the value chain.
irrigated agriculture and adopt integrated water Poor reseru'ch-extension-fanner linkages, which
resource management approach for enhancing limit transfer and adoption of technology.
resource efficiency and agricultural productivity. Need for policies and strategies on soil, water and
Investing in irrigation for expanding irrigation biodiversity to offset the high rate of natural
",here scope exists and improving efficiency of the resource degradation.
existing irrigation systems (irrigation scenario). Need to focus research on soil tertility improvement,
Conducting agricultural trade within and between soil and water management, development of in'igation,
countries (trade scenario). promotion of integrated livestock-tree-crop systems
Reducing gross food demand by influencing diets and development of drought mitigation strategies.
and reducing post-harvest losses, including industrial Need to strengthen capacities of institutions and
and household waste. farmers' organizations to support input and output
To upgrade rain-fed agriculture in the developing marketing and agricultural production systems.
countries small watershed management by adopting Poor information flow and lack of communication
community pruiicipatory and integrated approach is on rural development issues.
recommended and found effective through number of Need to integrate a gender perspective in agricultural
islands of success in Asia and Africa (Wani et at., research and training as seen in ICRISA T's work on
2002, 2003, Rockstrom et at., 2007 and Wani et al., community watershed, VASAT and village level
2008). We need to have a holistic approach based on studies.
1846 Water, Environment, Energy and Sooiety (WEES-2009)

In much of agricultural research, the multi-

disciplinary team approach has often run into difficulties
in achieving impact because of the perceived disciplinary
hierarchy. The IGNRM approach in Community
Watershed Consortium pursues integration of the
knowledge and products of the various research dis-
ciplines into useful extensions messages for devj:\lop-
ment workers that can sustain increased yields. for a
range ofc!lmatic and edaphic conditions. In Asia, the
integrated community watershed management approach
that aims at to promote income-generating and sustain-
able crop and livestock production options as an
important component of improved management of ~,

. ! -I'j "I' t
, , , , ,
, , , ,
'-r'! "I' '-I ' I '
watershed landscapes is a live example of how n 4. 5 16 :ro U 2!! 32 30 4Il14
IGNRM led to significant benefits in a poor area Arlwil m", (Rs llXll)
(Tables 4, 5 and Figure 2). This holistic palticipatory
Fig. 2: Effect of Integrated watershed management on
approach is transfonning the lives of poor small and flow of household net income .
marginal firrmers into prosperity in. the dryland areas (Source: ICRISAT Dala-Adarsha Watershed, Andhra
'of Asia (Wan; etal., 2006a). Pradesh, India)

Table 3: Benefits of Watersheds-Summary of Meta-analysis

No. of ; Median Max
Indloator Particulars Unit Mean. Mode Min
.... ~
value I
Efficiency BIC ratio Ralio 128 2.14 1.70 1.81 0.82 7.06 21.25 '
, IRR Per cent 40 22.04 19.00 16.90 1.68 ! 94.00 6.54 i
Equity : Employment ! Person 39 181.50 , 75.00 127.00 ' 11.00 900.00 6.74 :
, dayS/halyr ;
. i Per cent
, 26.00 :. 1.37 ,. 156.03
: Sustalnabllity' +Irrigated area 97 33.56 !
52.00 11.77
. Cropping Per cent :
115 , 63.51 .80.00 41.00 ; 10.00 ; 200.00 12.65

i intensity !

36 . .. -1.30 ..
Rate of runoff Per cent -13.00 -33.00 -11.00 ...50.00 6.78
Soil loss Tonslhalyr 51 -0.82 -0.91 -0.88 -0.11 i -0.99 39.29 ,

Table 4; Effect of Integrated Water Management Interventions on Runoff and Soil Erosion from
Adarsha Watershed, Andhra Pradesh, India
! Soil Loss
Rainfall Runoff(mm) Peak Runoff Rate (mJ/s/ha)
Year (mm) ,
I Untreated : Treated Untreated Treated Untreated Treated
1999 584 16 Nlt'i 0.013 NI(a) Nit') , Nl fai
2000 1161 118 65 0.235 0.230 4.17 1.46
2001 612 31 22 0.022 0.027 1,48 0.51
, 2002 464 13 Nil 0.011 Nil 0.18 Nil
2003 689 76 44 0.057 0.018 3.20 UO
2004 667 126 39 0.072 0.014 3.53
, 0.53

2005 899 107 66 0.016 0.014 2.82 ,

2006 715 110 75 , 0.003 0.001 2.47 ! 1.56
Mean 724 '75 44 0.054 0.051 2.55 1.06
(10.4%) (6.1%) i _______ M._ I
. (a) No! installed.
Source: Sreedevi et al. (2007).
Community Watersheds for Sustainable Development and Improved Livelihoods in Dryland Areas of Asia 1847

Table 5: Crop Yields in Adarsha Watershed Kothapally during 1999-2007

1998 Yield (Kg ha- 1)
Crop 8ase-
Line 1999- -2000-:- 2001- 20()2- 2003- 2004- 2005- 2006- Average
Yield 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 yields

Sale maize - 1500 3250 3750 3300 3480 3920 3420 3920 3935 3640 283.3
Improved Inter
cropped maize
- 2700 2790 2800 3083 3129 2950 3360 3180 3030 263,0
Traditioal inter-
- 700 1600 1600 1800 1950 2025 2275 2150 1785 115.6
cropped maize
Improved inter-
-- 640 940 800 720 950 680 925 970 860 120.3
inter-cropped 190 200 180 - - - - - - 190 -
- 3050 3170 2600 2425 2290- 2325 2250 2085 2530 164.0
Sole- Sorghum
Traditional Sale
1070 1070 1010 940 910 952 1025 1083 995 1000 120.7
Intercroped \

- 1770 1940 2200 - 2110 1980 1960 1850 1970 206.0

ICRISAT and the national agricultural research diagnostic work in different comlnunity watersheds in
systems (NARS) in Asia have developed an innovative different states of India as well as In China, Vietnam
and upscalable consortium mod~l for managing and Thailand showed severe mining of soils for
watersheds holis~ically. In this approach, rainwater essential plant nutrients reSUlting in widespread (80-
management is used as_an entry point activity starting 100%) deficiencies, micronutrients like zinc, boron
with in-situ conservation of rainwater, and convert the and secondary nutrients such as sulphur (Table I)
benefits of stored rainwater into "increased productivity ,along with N&P. In addition, soil organic matter is
by using improved crops, cultivars, suitable nutrient very much in short supply particularly i~ tropical
and pest management practices and land and water countries. Management practices that augment soil
management practices (Table 5). The, households organic matter and maintain a threshold level are
incomes and overall productivity had more than needed. Farm bunds could productively ~e used for
do1.1bled thro~ghout selected benchmark sites in Asia growing nitrogen-fixing shrubs and trees to generate
(Figure 2). The benefits not only accrued to nitrogen-rich "loppings. For example, growing
landholding households, but also to the landless Gliricidia sepium at close spacing of 75 cm on farm
marginalized groups through the creation of greater bunds could provide 28-30 kg nitrogen per ha in
employment 0ppOltunities. The greater resilience of addition to valuable organic matter. Also, large quantities
crop income in the watershed villages during the of fann residues and other organic wastes could be
drought year 2002 was noteworthy (Figure 2). While converted into valuable source of plant nutrients and
the share of crops in household income declined from organic matter through vermicomposting (Wani et at.,
44% to 12% in the non-project villages. The crop 2005). Strategic long-term catchment research at
income remained largely unchanged from 36% to 37% ICRISAT has shown that legUlne-based systems I

in the wCl;tershed village. The loss in household income particularly "with pigeonpea could sequester 330 kg-
in the non-project villages was largely compensated by carbon Up to J.50 cm depth in
Vertisols 'at Patancheru,
migration and non-fann income. India under rainfed conditions (Wani et aI., 2003a).
A substantial increase in crop yields was experienced
Soil Health:'An Important Driver for Enh~ncing
after micronutrient amendments, and a further increase
Water Use Efficiency
by 70 to 120% when hoth micronutrients and adequate
Soil health is severely affected due to land degradation nitrogen and pho$pnorus were applied, for a number of
that needs urgent attention. ICRISA,{,'s on-fann fainfed crops (maize, sorghum, mung bean, pigeon pea,
1848 Water, Environment, Energy end Society (WEES-2009)

chickpea, castor and groundnut) (Rego et al., 2Q05 and Shifting Non-productive Evaporation to
2007). In terms of net economic returns, rainwater Productive Transpiration
productivity was substantially higher by 1.50 to 1.75 Rainwater use efficiency in agricultural systems in arid
times (Rego etal., 2005). and SAT is 35 to 50%. This suggests scope for improve-
ment of green water productivity, as it entails shifting
WATER RESOURCES MANAGEMENT non-productive evaporation' to productive transpiration,
For enhancing rainwater use efficiency in rainfed with no downstream water trade-off. This vapour shift
agriculture, the management of water alone can110t (or transfer) through improved managemel1t options is
resuh in enhanced water productivity as the crop yields a particular opportunity in arid, semiarid and dry sub-
humid regions (Rockstrom e/ al., 2007).
in'these areas are limited by additional factors than
water limitation. ICRlSAT's experience in rainfed Field measurements of rainfed grain yields and
areas has clearly demonstrated that more than water actual green water flows indicate that by doubling yields
quantity per se management of water resources is the from I to 2 tlha in semiarid tropical agro-ecosystems,
limitation in the SAT regions (Wani el al., 2006a). An green water productivity may improve from approxi-
analysis in Malawi indicates that over the past three mately 3500 m 3/t to less tha112000 m 3/!. This is a result
of the dynamic nature of water productivity improve-
decades, only a fraction of the years that have been
ments when moving from very low yields to higber
politically proclaimed as drought years, actually were
yields. At low yields, crop water uptake is low and
years subject to meteorological drougbts (i.e. years
evaporative losses are high, as the leaf area coyerage
where rainfall.totals fall under miuimum water needs of the soil is low. This results in higb losses of
to producc food at all) (Mwale, 2003). rainwater as evaporation from soil. When yield levels
As indicated by Agarwal (2000), India would not increase, shading of soil improves.
have to suffer from droughts, inocal water balances
were managed properly. Even during drougbt years, Discard Artificial Divide Between Irrigated and
watershed development efforts of improving rainfall Rainfed Agriculture
management have benefited Indian farmers (Wani et Adopt integrated water resource management approach
aZ., 200611). in the watersheds. by discarding the artificial divide
Evidence from water balance analyses on famlers' . between rainfed and irrigated agriculture. There is an
fields around the world Sl10ws that only a small fraction, u~ent need to bave sustainable water use policies to
less than 30% of rainfall, is used as productive green ensure sustainable development. In absence of suitable
water flow(plant transpiration) supporting plant growth policies and luechanisms for sustainable use of ground-
(Rockstr5m, 2003). In arid areas typically as little as . water resources, benefits of watershed programmes
10% of the raiJifall is consumed as productive green can easily be undone in short period with overex-
water flow (transpiration), 90% flows as non-productive ploitation of the augmented water resources (Sreedevi
evaporation flow, Le. no or vel)' limited blue water ot aZ., 2006). Cultivation of water inefficient crops like
generation (Owe is and Hachum, 2001). In temperate rice and sugarcane need to lile controlled througb
arid regions, such as WANA, a large portion of the suitable incentive mechanisms for rainfed irrigated
rainfall is generally consumed in the (armers' fields as crops and policy to be evolvect to stop cultivation of
productive green water flow (45-55%) that resulted in higb water requiring crops (Wani et at., 2008a).
higher yield levels (3-4 tlha as compared to 1-2 t/ha) q

and 25-35% of the rainfall flows as non-productive Convergence and Collective Action
green water flow and remaining 15-20% generate blue Convergence of actors and their actions at watershed
. water flow. These indicate a large scope of opportunity. level is needed to harness the synergies and to
Low agricultural yields in rainfed agriculture, often maximize the benefits tllfough efficient and sustain-
blamed as rain:full deficits, are in fact caused by other able use of natural resources. This will benefit small
factors than rainfall. Still, what is possible to produce and marginal farmers through increased productivity
on-farm w.ill not always be produced by resource-poor per unit of resource. A large benefit of watershed
sma11-scale farmers. The farmers' reality is influenced programmes has been missed due to ccmpartmenta-
by other constraints such as labour shortage, insecure lized approach. 11lUS, there is an urgent need Ie bring
land ownership, capital constraints and limitation in ill convergence as it has beneflts in manifold. ft is
human capacities. likely Ie be win-win for all the stakeholders including
Community Watersheds for Sustainable Development and Improved Livelihoods in Dryland Areas of Asia 1849

line departments involved in improving rural watershed activities. Private-public partnership has
livelihoods (Wani et af.; 2003, 2003b). provided the means for increased investments not on Iy
New institutional mechanisms are also needed at for enhancing productivity but also' for building
district, state, and national level to converge various institutions as engines for people-led NRM.
watershed programmes implemented by several
ministries and development agencies to enhance the Business Model
impact and efficiency by overcoming duplicity and Watersheds should be developed as business model
confusion. In 2005, the National Commission on Farmers through public-private partnership using principles of
recommended a holistic integrated watershed manage- market-led diversification using high value crops,
ment approach, with focus on rainwater harvesting and value chain approach and livelihood approach rather
,improving soil health for sustainable development of than only soil and water conservation approach.
drought-prone rainfed areas (Govemment of India, Strengths of rainfed areas using available water
2005). Recently, Govel11ment of India has established resources efficiently through involvement of private
National Rain-fed Areas Authority (NRAA) with the entrepreneurs and value addition can be harnessed by
mandate to converge 'Various programmes for integrated linking small and marginal farmers to markets through
development ofrainfed agriculture in tl1e country. The public-private partnership business model for watershed
commOll watershed guide lines issued by the NRAA management (Wani et al., 2008, 2008a).
have also emphasized the need for convergence and
collective action (GOI 2008). These are welcome Pilot-Scale Model Community Watershed
developments; however, it is just a beginning and lot
more still needs to be done to provide institutional and Based on detailed studies and synthesis of the results,
policy support for deVelopment of rain fed areas. Thus, , impacts, shortcomings, learnings from large number of
it has become increasingly clear that water management watershed programmes and on-farm experiences
for rainfed agriculture requires a landscape perspective, gained, ICRlSA Tled consortium developed an
and involvescross-scale interactions from farm house- innovative farmers' participatory consortiu.m model for
hold scale to watershed/catchment scale. intograted watershed management (Wani et ai., 2002,
Enhancing partnerships and institutional umovations 2003b, 2003c). ICRISAT-led watershed espouses the
through the conso11ium approach was major impetus IGNRM approacb where activities are implemented at
for harnessing community watershed's potential to landscape level at benchmark sites representing the
reduce households' poverty (Wani et ai., 2003). different agroecoregions of the SAT. The entire
Complex issues were effectively addressed by the joint process levolves around the four E's (empowerment,
efforts of ICRISAT and in collaboration witl1 key equity, efficiency and environment), which are
partners namely NARSs, non-governmental organi- addressed by adopting specific strategies prescribed by
zations (NGOs), govemment organizations, agricultural the four C's (consortium, convergence, cooperation
universities, community-based orgadzations and other and capacity building). The consortium strategy brings
private interest groups with farm households as the key together institutions from tllC scienti,fic, non-govern-
decision makers. In self-help groups (SHGs), like ment, government, and fmmers group for knowledge
village seedbanks, these were established not just to management Convergence allows integration and
provide timely and quality seeds but to provide negotiation of ideas among actors. Cooperation enjoins
technical support and bu ilding tl1e capacity of all stakeholders to harness the power of collective
members like women for management, conservation actions. Capacity building engages in empowerment
and livelihood development activities. Incorporating for sustainability (Wani ef aI., 2003b).
knowledge-based entry point in the approach led to the The important components of the new model, which
faciEtation of rapport and at the same time enabled the are distinct from the earlier ones are:
community to take' rational decisions for their own
development (Dixit etal., 2007). As demonstrated by Collective action by fanners and participation from
ICRISAT, the strongest merit of consortium approach the beginning through cooperative and collegiate
is ill the area of capacity building where farm mode in place of contractual mode.
households are not the sole beneficiaries. Researchers, Integrated water resource management and holistic
development workers and students of various system approach through convergence for improving
disciplines are also trained, and policymakers from the livelihoods as against traditional compartmental
NARSs sensitized on the entire gamut of community approach.
1850 Water, Environment, Energy and Society (WEES-2009)

A consortium of institutions for technical back- village prides itself with households owning 5 tractors,
stopping. 7 10ITies and 30 auto,rickshaws. People from sUITound-
Knowledge-based entry point to build rapport with ing villages come to Kothapally for on-farm employ-
community and enhanced pat1icipation of farmers ment. With more training on livelihood and enterprise
and landless people through empowennent. development, migration is bound to cease.
'. Tangible economic benefits to individuals through Crop Livestock integration is another facet harnessed
on-funn interventions enhancing efficiency of for poverty reduction. The Lucheba watershed,
conserved soil and water resources. Guizhou province of southem China has transformed
Low-cost and environment-friendly soil and water its economy through modest injection of capital-allied
conservation measures throughout the toposequence contributions of lahour and finance, to create basic
for more equitable benefits to large nillnber of fulmers. infrastructures like access to roads and drinking water
Income-generating activities for landless and women supply, With technical support from the consortium,
through allied sector activities and rehabi1itation of the fanning system was intensified from rice and rape
wastelands for improved livelihoods and protecting seed to tending livestock (pig raising) and growing
the environment. horticultural crops (fruit trees like Ziziphus; vegetables
like beans, peas and sweetpotato) and groundnuts. In
Multiple Benefits and Impacts forage production, wild buckwheat was specifically
important as an alley crop as it was a good forage grass
Through the use of new tools [i.e, remote sensing, for pigs. This cropping technology was also effective
Geographical Infonnation Systems (GIS) and simulation in controlling erosion and increasing farm income in
modelling) along with an understanding of the entire sloping lands. This holds true in many watersheds of
food production-utilization system (Le, food quality India where the improvement in fodder production has
and market) and genuine involvement of stakeholders, intensified livestock activities like'breed improvement
ICRISAT-ledwatersheds effected remarkable impacts (artificial insemination and natural means) and
on SAT resource-poor farm households. livestock centre/health camp establishment (Wani et
Reducing rural poverty in the watershed communities aI., 2006b). In Tad Fa and Wang Chai watersheds in
is evident in the transformation of their economies. Thailand, there was a 45% increase in frum income
The ICRISAT model ensured improved productivity within three years. Farmers earned an average net
with the adoption of cost-efficient Water Harvesting income ofUS$ 1195 per cropping season. A complete
Structures (WHS) as an entry point for improving turnaround in livelihood system of farm households
livelihoods, Crop intensification and diversification was inevitable in ICRISAT-Ied watersheds.
with high-value crops is one. leading example that Increasing crop productivity is a common objective
allowed households to achieve production of basic' in all the watershed progratl1l11eS; atld the enhanced
staples and surplus for modest incomes. The model has crop productivity is achieved after the implementation
provision for improving the capacity of frum house- of soil and water conservation practices along with
holds through training and networking and for alleviating appropriate crop .and nutrient management. For
livelihood enhanced participation especially of the example, the implementation of improved crop
most vulnerable groups like women atld the landless, matlagement technology in the benchmark watersheds
Building on social capital made the huge difference of Andhra Pradesll increased the maize yield by
in addressing rural pOVCl1y of watershed communities. 2.5 times (Table 5) and sorghum yield by threefold
This is evident in the case of Adarsha Watershed, (Wani ef ai., 2006a), Overall, in the 65 community
Kothapally in Andhra Pradesh, India. Today, it is a watersheds (each measuring approximately 500 ha),
prosperous village on the path of long-tenn implementing best-bet practices resulted in significant
sustainability and has become a beacon for science-led yield advantages in sorghum (35-270%), maize (30-
rural development. In 200 I, the average village income 174%), pearl millet (72-242%), groundllut (28-179%),
from agrictllture, livestock and non-farming sources sole pigeonpea (97-204%) and intercropped pigeonpea
was US$ 945 compared with the neighbouring nOll- (40-110%), In Thanh Ha watershed of Vietnam, yields
watershed village income of US:S 613 (Figure 2). The of soybean, ground nut and mung bean increased by
villagers proudly professed: "We did not face any threefold to fourfold (2.8-3.5 tlha) as compared with
difficulty for water even during the drought year of baseline yields (0,5 to 1.0 tlha), reducing the yield gap
2002. J.Vhen surrounding villages had no drinking between potential farmers' yields. A reduction ill
water, our wells had s'l!/Jlclent water," To date, the nitrogen fertilizer (90-120 kg urea per ha) by 38%
Communily Walersheds for Sustainable Development and Improved Uvefjhoods in Dryiand Areas of Asia 1851

increased maize yield by 1&%. In Tad Fa watershed of This was the main motivation for the excellent
northeastern Thailand, maize yield increased by farmers' participation in the project. On the other
27-34% with improved crop management. hand, in Thanh Ha watershed in Vietnam, collective
Improving water availability ill the watersheds was pumping out of well water established efficient water
attributed to efficient milnagement of rainwater and in- distribution system and enabled farmers' group to earn
situ conservation, establishment of WHS and improved more income by growing watemlelon with reduced
groundwater levels., Even after the rainy season, the drudgelY as women had to cany water on the head
water level in wells nearer to 'NBS sustained good from a long distance (Wani et al., 2006b).
groundwater yield. In the various watersheds of India Supplemental irrigation can playa very important
like Lalatora (iil Madhya Prdesh), treated area role in reducing the risk of crop failures and in
registered a groundwater level rise by 7.3 m. At Bundi, optimizing the productivity in the SAT. In these
Rajasthan, the average rise waS 5.7 m and the irrigated regions, there is good potential for delivering excess
area increased from 207 ha to 343 ha. In Kothapally rainwater to storage structures or groundwater because
watershed in Andhra Pradesh, the groundwater level even under improved systems, there is loss of 12-30%
rise was 4.2 m in open wells (Figure 3). The various of the rainfall as rUlloff. Striking results were recorded
,WHS resulted in an additional groundwater recharge from supplemental irrigation on crop yields in
per year of approximately 4,28,000 m 3 011 the average. ICRISAT benchmark watersheds in Madhya Pradesh.
With this improvement in groundwater availability, the
On-farm studies made during 200Q.-()3 postrainy seasons,
supply. of clean drinking water was guaranteed. In
showed that chickpea yield (1.25 tlha) increased by
Lucheba watershed In China, a drinking water project,
127% over the control yield (0.55 t/ha); and groundllut
which constitutes a water stcrage tank and pipelines to
pod yield (1.3 tlha) increased by 59% over the control
farm households, was a joint effort of the community
yield (0.82 t/ha) by application of two supplemental
and the watershed project. This solved the drinking
irrigations of 40 mm. Similar yield responses in mung
water problem for 62 households and more than 300
livestock. Earlier every farmer's household used to bean and chickpea crops Were obtained ii'om supple-
spend 2-3 hours per day fetching drinking water. , mental irrigation at the ICRISAT center in Patancheru
(pathak et al., 2008).
SUlitaining development and protecting tile enviroll-
~nd! waterShed, Rajasthan ment are the two-pronged achievements of tile
watersheds. The effectiveness of improved watershed
2002 2003 2004 2005
, .
technologies was evident in reducing runoff volume,
i peak runoff rate and soil loss and improving ground-

,S; 6 &. "A, ....---4
.s water recharge. This is particularly significant in Tad

~"f' ~
500 ll! i Fa watershed where interventions such as contour
I 121 ,~
a: cultivation at mid-slopes, vegetative bunds 'planted
! 18 ~ _ _ I~ __ .J:"--_J!iL_~'---' 0 with Vet/ver, fruit trees grown on steep slopes and
relay cropping with rice bean reduced seasonal runoff
to less tlian half (194 mm) and soil loss less than 117'"
Adrasha watershed, AAdhra Pradesh (4.21 tlha) as compared to the conventional system
(473 mm runoff and soil loss 31.2 Vha). This holds
tme with peak runoff rate where the reduction is
approximately one-third (Table 6).
Large number ofnelds (80-100%) in the SAT were
found severely deficient in zinc, boron and sulphur as
well as nitrogen and phosphorus. Amendment of soils
with the deficient miCro- and' secondary nutrients
increased crop yields by 30 to 70%, resulting in overall
increase in water and nutrient use efficiency. Introduction
Fig. 3: The impact of watershed interventions on ground- ofIPM in cotten and pigeonpea substantially reduced the
water levels at two benchmark sites in India. (Note: number of chemical insecticidal sprays in Kothapally,
Estimated additional groundwater recharge due to India during the season and thus reduced the pollution of
watershed interventions is 6,75,000 m'lyr in Bundi water bodies with hannful chemicals (Rego et aI., 2007).
watershed and 4,27,600 m'tyr in Adarsha Watershed) Introduction ofIntegrated Pest Management (IPM) and
1852 Water, Environment, Energy and Society (WEES-2009)

- Table 6: Seasonal Rainfall, Runoff and Soil Loss from Different Benchmark Watersheds in India and Thailand
~-- Rf.lTIr;rr.(m~)~---I---

Watershed Seasonal Soil Los_s_I'-tlh_a-'I_ _ _-'
__~ __~__ Rainfall (mm) . Treated - Untreated i Treated Untreate~
: Tad Fa (Khon Kaen, NE Thailand) 1284 169 364 4.21 31.2 ,-
'Kothapally (Andhra Pradesh, India) 743 44, 67 0.82 1=.9'-----1
r--- .
; Rlngnodia (Madhya Pradesh, India), 764 2_1___-,!___6-'.6_ _" _._0_.7__5'-_t-'_ _ 2_.____
2 _ _-I
I Lalalora (Madhya Pradesh, IndiaL_~I_. 10461,--_70_~ ~,--__2_73 0.63 1_. 3.2

improved cropping systems decreased the use of 1998 to 100 ha in 2002) to a maize/pigeonpea
pesticides worth US$ 44 to 66 per ha (Ranga Rao et intercrop system (40 ha in 1998 to 180 ha in 2002),
al., 2007). Crop rotation using legumes in Wang Chai thereby changing the CAF from 0.41 in 1998 to 0.73 in
watershed (Thailand) substantially reduced nitrogen 2002. In Thanh Ha, Vietnam the CAF changed from
requirement for rainfed sugarcane. The rPM practices, 0.25 in 1998 to 0.6 in 2002 with the introduction of
which brought intp use local knowledge using insect legumes (Wani et ai., 2005).
traps .of molasses, light traps and tobacco waste, led to
extensive vegetable production in Xiaoxingcun (China) Scaling-up
and Wang Chai (Thailand) watersheds.
Most fanning problems require integrated solutions,
Improved land and water management practices with genetic, management-related, and socioeconomic
along with 'integrated nutrient management comprising components. In essence, plant breeders and NRM
application of inorganic fertilizers and organic scientists must integrate their work with that of private
amendments (such as crop residues, vermicompost,
and public sector change agents, to develop flexible
farm manures and Gliricidia loppings) as well as crop
cropping systems that can respond to rapid changes in
diversification with legumes not only enhanced
market oppOltunities and climatic conditions. rcRISAT
productivity but also improved soil quality. Increased
in partnership with NARSs has conceived, developed
carbon sequestration of 7.4 tJha in 24 years was observed
and successfully evaluated an innovative farmers'
with improved management options in a long-term
participatory consortium model for integrated watershed
watershed experiment at rCRISAT. By adopting fuel-
management. The model includes the consortium
switch for carbon, women SHGs in Powerguda (a
approach and adopts the concept of convergence in
remote village of Andhra radesh, India) have pioneered
the sale of carbon units (147 t CO2 C) to the World every activity in the watershed (Sreedevi and Wan i
Bank fi-om their 4,500 Pongamia trees, seeds of which
are collected for producing saplings for distribntion! The l1ew paradigm for upgrading rainfed agriculture
promotion ofbiodiesel plantation. Normalized Difference can double the productivity in Asia and also reduce
Vegetation Index (NOVI) estimation from the satellite poverty without causing further degradation of natural
images showed that within four years, vegetation cover resource base. Successful scaling up of these innovations
could increase by 35% in Kothapally. The IGNRM in Al1dhra Pradesh, India through i\.PRLP and in other
options ill the watersheds reduced loss of No,N in states of India with the support from Sir Dorabji Tata
runoff water (8 vs 14 kg nitrogen per ha). Reduced Trust and World Bank (Sujala Project, Kamataka) as
runoff and erosion reduced risk of downstream well as in Thailand and Vietnam have opened up
flooding and siltation of water bodies that directly oppmtunities .to upgrade rainfed agriculture in all these
improved envil'Onmenta1. quality in the watersheds countries as well as in China.
(pathak et al., 2005; Sahrawat et al., 2005; Wani et al., Along with rainwater harvesting and agumentation,
2005). water demand management through enhanced water
Conserving biodiversity in the watersheds was use efficiency (both rain and groundwater) by adopting
engendered through participatory NRM. The Index of a holistic approach has benefited the fanners. Fanners
Surface Percentage of Crops (ISPC), Crop Agro- obtained 13 to 230% increase in maize yields with
biodiversity Factor (CAF), and surface variability of an average increase of 72% over the base yield of
main crops changed as a result of integrated watershed 2980 kglha; the increase in castor yields was 21 to
management interventions. Pronounced agro-biodiversity 70% with an average increase of 60% over the base
impacts were observed in Kothapally watershed where yield of 470 kg/ha. Similarly groundnut yield
farmers~no~grow-2-2-crops-in a~season-with-<Lremark~~ ___in.creilll~by 28% over the base yield of 1430 klifha.
able shift in cropping pattern from cotton (200 ha in The issues of equity for alr in the watershed call for
Community Watersheds for Sustainable Development and Improved Livelihoods in Dry/and Areas of Asia 1853

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